“Speed” of PCR tests in Ukraine, or needless to be surprised by an outbreak
6/23/2020 11:04 PM
More recently, the results of the analysis had to wait up to 10 days … The Ministry of Health claims that it is now the maximum – one day. It’s true, not everywhere else …
The number of patients identified with COVID-19 in Ukraine in a few days will cross the 40 thousand mark. According to the Center for Public Health, as of June 23, the rate of active patients with COVID-19 increased by 386% from April 20. And while the main method of containing a pandemic remains the identification and screening of infected people and their further isolation. And how much?
To date, in Ukraine, 580,000,814 PCR tests for the coronavirus have been performed. So many things are done in the U.S. every day, and in total over 29 million tests have already been done there. 17.5 million come from Russia. In neighboring Poland, where 32 thousand 527 patients – 1 million 377 thousand 206 tests. It is fair to say that the number of tests in Ukraine is increasing (now up to 11 thousand a day), but so far one of the main problems in some regions is the long wait for results, sometimes it takes longer of a week. And at a time when people who suspect a coronavirus infection should be isolated, receive treatment and their contact persons examined, their test samples wait in line. As a result, possible carriers of the infection continue to spread further, and in the meantime, we are surprised to see a high increase in morbidity.
In more detail, what is the current situation of PCR tests in Ukraine, later in the document.
The health ministry says the tests are done from seven hours to a day
A week ago, June 16, according to the Center for Public Health, while waiting in the laboratories there were almost 12 thousand test samples. As of June 23, the queue has been reduced by a sixth – nearly 10,000.
Health minister Maxim Stepanov said the test result for COVID-19 in Ukraine is now expected from seven hours to one day. Delays in obtaining test results were observed in the Volyn and Donetsk regions. “In general, we try to do the test period of about seven hours – (…) until we get it until the start of the test. We try to do it for a maximum of one day, no more. Of course sometimes problems arise when there are a lot of tests at the same time. In this case, we start to distribute it between regions, “said Stepanov in one of the next briefings last week .
In the capital, it seems that the situation with the speed and volume of tests has improved recently. From March to May, only the Laboratory of the Ministry of Health carried out PCR analyzes. For this reason, one of the employees of Ukrinform, who had to be hospitalized in a cardiology clinic, had to wait for the results of the PCR test for 5 days. And it was still fast: the family doctor called the laboratory, “urgently” – almost every day.
But for now, according to Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko, the capital has increased its capacity. Only the “Kiev Laboratory Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine” has carried out nearly 40,000 PCR test studies. And alongside him, such studies are underway in 4 other municipal medical establishments in Kiev. And also – in private clinics and public medical institutions. “The rate of tests in the capital is the highest in Ukraine and amounts to 67 tests per 100,000 inhabitants of the city,” said the mayor of Kiev.
In the meantime Ukrinform, the director of the health department of the Kiev city state administration, Valentina Ginzburg, said that residents of the capital could soon discover the results of the PCR tests on COVID-19 in one hour. “In the near future, 10 more PCR equipment will be purchased, which will help to test in such a mode, when there will be results for a patient within the hour. Such equipment is already in Alexandrovskaya, in the 4th hospital, but we will also strengthen other support hospitals, “said Valentine Ginsburg.
To find out the average waiting time for test results, Ukrinform sent a letter to the Kiev City Laboratory Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. There is still no answer, although given the situation, on its social importance, it should have arrived the same day.
Collapse with tests in Lviv: the situation was corrected, but the head of the laboratory center was dismissed
Meanwhile, in some areas, collapse has occurred due to the accumulation of biomaterial samples. In late May, only in the Lviv regional laboratory center, there were 2,500 samples of biomaterials online for PCR testing, reported the Lviv portal. Next, a 40-year-old citizen of Lviv, singer and songwriter Nazar Savko, said that when a coronavirus infection was discovered in his family, the results of the study had to wait a week and a half. As the head of the city’s headquarters to fight coronavirus infection in Lviv later explained in an Air Force comment, an average of 700 to 800 PCR samples are received per day in the region of Lviv. About 500 can process and the queues are piling up. On June 4, the test round in the region was 3600 samples.
They only resolved the situation in Lviv with the intervention of the ministry – the Lviv tests were sent to less busy laboratories in Ternopol, Kiev, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kropyvnytskyi. As of June 22, 500 tests were waiting in the analysis laboratory. But Maxim Stepanov said he would fire the head of the Lviv Roman Piva Regional Laboratory Center because he considers the situation with the test queues accumulated over the past few weeks unacceptable. According to Tvoemisto.tv, the head of LOGA’s health department, Orest Chemeris, while Oleg Kogut acts as head of the laboratory center.
Later, chief medical officer of health Viktor Lyashko in a traditional conference call explained: it was the liquidation of the PCR test line for COVID-19 that explained the large number of positive laboratory-confirmed cases in the region of Lviv in recent days.
In Zhitomir and Odessa too, we’ve been waiting for results for weeks
A similar situation was at Zhytomyr. At the beginning of May, the Zhytomyr Regional Laboratory Center was so overcrowded that its director Zinovy Paramonov warned the heads of medical establishments that on May 7 and 9, they would not accept equipment to test the coronavirus by PCR, at with the exception of equipment for seriously ill patients with COVID-19 and young children. As of May 6, 800 samples are awaiting diagnosis by PCR. Now, according to Paramonov, the situation has improved: in one month, the PCR studies there were multiplied by 6 – from 100 to almost 600. In a comment by the Air Force, he declared that the laboratory was missing specialists capable of working with dangerous viruses, and also hardware problems.
“The tests are carried out for six hours, of which four hours are complicated, manual work in virological boxing in coveralls, masks, gloves. These should be trained people. Otherwise, the test will not be precise. are not recommended to work at night, “said Paramonov. He also said that if you buy automated lines for laboratories that replace 4-hour human labor, they can do up to 2,000 tests per shift.
But the health ministry is unhappy that the laboratory has suspended its activities and cannot cope with the flow of samples of biomaterials, so they prepared a removal order for Mr. Paramonov. On June 18, Viktor Lyashko came to Zhytomyr for the second time to release Zinovy Paramonov from his post, but he was not allowed to enter the regional laboratory, transferred to Zhytomyr.info.
Meanwhile, a resident of Zhytomyr Olga Sivachenko complained about the distortion of the PCR test results on Covid-19 and asked the police to intervene in the situation, reports UNN with reference to Zhytomyr.
“My” illness “lasted a month, although my tongue dared not call it that confidently. I took the PCR test four times during this period, I waited a week for the results, two times it was positive … “, explains Olga Sivachenko. Later, she underwent an IFA -Testing, but the result showed the absence of antibodies against Covid-19. Later, it turned out that a city resident was sick not with coronavirus, but with ordinary pneumonia. “And now, I think who will answer for this mess … Probably let the floor understand,” she said.
Complains about delays in testing in Odessa, reports UNN with reference to local TV station “Reporter”. Seven family members received a PCR test, but only five of them received results: two negative and three positive. After that, all family members were retested. The results promised in 2-3 days, but for more than two weeks, they weren’t there. Fortunately, people reacted responsibly to the situation and isolated themselves while waiting for a response. “We call the family doctor – she doesn’t take the phone, we call the laboratory – no reaction. They shut us up in the house, we sit down – and how to work?” – Valentin Vitman said to Odessa. For those whose first test was positive, they prescribed no treatment, but simply ordered to stay at home. Meanwhile, some family members have actively shown symptoms of coronavirus infection – cough and fever.
Results in a day or two – it’s possible. It is proven in Vinnytsia and Chernivtsi
At the same time, there are positive examples of regions that have successfully avoided the problem of accumulating patient samples in laboratories. In the Vinnitsa region, for example, there were no problems even at the start of the epidemic, as Larisa Moroz, the leading infectious disease specialist in the Vinnitsa region, explained in the commentary by Ukrinform. “The maximum wait for the test results is a day and a half. At the start of the epidemic, this period was a maximum of two days. We bought equipment and 3-4 analyzers are constantly working for us, and Vinnichina was still second after Kiev for the number of tests performed, but laboratory specialists work every day until 10 p.m., seven days a week, “said Frost.
She added that, as many funds are currently allocated to contain local coronavirus infection, it is necessary to insist that local authorities, possibly with the help of sponsors, purchase additional PCR equipment to increase the volume to avoid queues and get an objective picture of the spread of the infection.
The chief epidemiologist of the Chernivtsi region, Yuri Paduraru, also shared the region’s success in establishing operational tests. “If the smear samples arrive in the morning, then at the end of the day, there are already results. If the samples arrive in the afternoon, then the result is known the next morning. For a very long time, we had no delay in performing PCR tests for more than a day. In the past 7 days we have done 3,029 tests, or 430 on average per day, “said Yuri Paduraru.
As you can see, the testing situation for COVID-19 is different in each region. And where they started increasing laboratory capacity, collapse and weekly queues were avoided. The fundamental question is: why has the problem, which seriously affects the possibility of containing the epidemic, remained silent for so long? Why, when turning to vital news, are journalists always forced to write de jure, de facto mocking “requests” for officials to receive an unusually bureaucratic response after 2-3 weeks?
The second wave of coronavirus infection is before us. Opinions of international experts on how it will be – stronger or even weaker than the former, have so far differed. But one thing is clear: the better prepared we are, including at the laboratory level, the better the chances of containing the infection.
Julia Gorban, Kiev
According to the materials: ukrinform.ru